On Thursday at The Boy Scouts Of America’s annual national meeting in Atlanta, the organization’s president, Robert M. Gates, called for an end to the organization-wide ban on gay leaders.
In a statement to other executives, Gates said “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”
The move is intended to include and respect all religious beliefs within the organization.
“I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs,” he said. “I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”
Although this latest call to action sounds like a progressive move in the right direction, openly gay candidates for scout leaders nationwide still face an uphill battle. According to Gates, churches sponsor some 70 percent of Scout units, and he believes the organization should be in favor of religious freedom and allowing the churches and organizations who sponsor the troops to “determine the standards for their Scout leaders.”
This could prove problematic given the obvious conflict of interest between openly gay leader candidates and Christian organizations that oppose homosexuality.
Gates continued that it will allow all churches the opportunity to “establish leadership standards consistent with their faith,” He added, “We must, at all costs, preserve the religious freedom of our church partners to do this.”
The Boy Scouts of America’s leadership voted that no child could be denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone” with a 60-percent approval in 2013, while also voting to let the ban on openly gay adults in leadership stand.
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